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What is APL?
Advanced Plasma Lighting (APL) is Topanga USA’s proprietary configuration of an electrode-free plasma lamp placed external to the resonator. This patented configuration provides distinct advantages over both traditional Metal Halide and Solid-State Lighting sources. APL is a compact, single point-source.
What is APL’s advantage over standard Metal halide?
APL is “electrode-free HID.” APL has a bulb which uses the same metal halide chemistry as standard HID metal halide sources. Standard HID bulbs are big because they need to house metal electrodes as well as the quartz bulb containing the metal halides the APL system uses a very high radio frequency to pass energy to a smaller version of the HID bulb instead of using metal electrodes. The result is a compact, High Intensity Discharge source with all the light characteristics of standard HID--but without the dangers associated with high temperature, metal-to-glass contact.
So what is the advantage over Solid-State lighting sources?
Solid-State Lighting—or, typically, “LED” lighting—is a directional source. That means, you point the source in the direction you want it to go. In general lighting, this can be problematic. For example, in order to light a large area, you need a lot of small sources, each theoretically using an optic pointing in a particular direction, to cover the area to be illuminated. The result is, there is always a source “pointed” at you, which we experience as “glare.” It’s like lighting an area with a whole bunch of flashlights bunched together.

APL is an omni-directional source. APL’s bulb can be placed deep in a reflector. The reflector then controls and directs the light output. The result is very efficient lighting without glare.
What do you mean by "single point-source" lighting?
The term "single point-source" refers to both the source of light (lamp) and the compact luminaires that use them. A single point-source is controllable. An ellipsoidal fixture designed for theatrical and entertainment applications is a single point-source. The light can be focused and directed to the target. Point-sources create contrast and definition in an object. When properly designed, single point-source luminaire provides optically efficient, glare-free light and produces a bright, high-clarity visual environment.

In contrast, multiple source lighting often needs multiple optics to focus and direct the light. The direct view of the light sources means fixtures with multiple sources are prone to glare.
LED is 100-0% dimmable, HID is not dimmable. How about APL?
APL is dimmable. Its dimming range is from 100-20%. At 20% light output, it uses 50% power—so it’s CA Title 24 compliant. Note that when LED dims, it creates THD on the electrical line. APL has no THD issues with dimming.
How do you control the APL system?
You have choices. APL accepts analog and digital interfaces. The system has an RS232 interface, a 0-10V control, and occupancy sensor line.
OK, so the light output is controlled by a reflector. Do you have ies files?
Topanga can provide ies files for reflector reference designs. Please contact Topanga USA directly for more information.
What sort of certifications do you have?
The Topanga APL System is UL1029, UL935, ETL and CE certified. Because APL uses an RF amplifier, it can comply with FCC Part 18, Class A status.
What are the power ranges you can replace using Topanga APL?
The APL250 system replaces a standard 250W HID but uses only 135 Watts at the plug.

The APL400 system replaces a standard 400W HID but uses only 235 Watts at the plug.

The APL1000 system replaces a standard 1000W HID but uses only 470 Watts at the plug.
OK, how does this compare when you're talking at the lumens and fixtures level?
For example:

A 250W pulse-start metal halide bulb and ballast uses about 290 watts and produces about 13,500 mean lumens. Put that bulb in a fixture with aluminum reflector and glass lens. Because of the bulb size, plus the reflector size and its poor reflectivity, plus glass lens, the fixture ends up about 58% efficient. So, from the amount of light initially produced, an HID fixture end up about 8,100 lumens to the target.

An APL250 uses 135 watts and produces 11,500 lumens. Because the bulb is so small and the reflector used so efficient, even with a glass lens the fixture ends up being about 80% efficient. So, from the amount of light initially produced, an APL fixture lumens are about 9,200 to the target, at half the wattage.
What color temperatures and CRIs does Topanga produce?
Currently Topanga produces 2 color temperatures for general lighting:

“4000” Series (High CRI): Color temperature 4300K, 80CRI

“5500” Series: Color temperature 5500, 70CRI

The “4000” and “5500” series are available in all power ranges (APL250, APL400, APL1000).
Metal halide bulbs always look green to me. Is your bulb green, too?
Human vision is very sensitive to the presence of green. Topanga USA has developed metal halide products with less perceived green. Using CIE 1931 and Munsell color system as reference, the “4000” series tends toward yellow with 80CRI, the “5500” series to greeenish blue with 70 CRI.
Metal halide usually needs about 3 minutes to warm up before it starts producing light. What is APL’s start-up time?
With APL, on start-up you will see immediately see a small amount of blue colored light. It takes about 30 seconds to reach full power, and about 45 seconds to reach full brightness.
The Super Bowl in New Orleans was delayed 23 minutes at halftime because they had to wait for the Metal Halide bulbs to cool down in order to re-strike. What’s APL’s re-strike time?
APL can hot re-strike about 2 minutes after shutdown.
I know LEDs decrease in efficiency as temperature rises. How does APL do with heat? What are operating ranges for APL?
The APL bulb actually increases in efficiency as temperature rises. The RF driver operating temperature should remain below 85 degrees C. The key to good fixture design is keeping the RF driver, Resonator/Bulb, and AC/DC power supply thermally separate. APL is rated for operating temperature ranges from -40 degrees C to +50 degrees C with no change in light performance characteristics.
How long does the bulb last?
Our L70 rating is 50,000 hours.
What about the other components?
The RF driver is rated for 100,000 hours of operation. That means you will replace the APL lamp twice in the lifetime of the driver. The resonator is a hollow aluminum cylinder. The cable connecting RF driver to resonator would only need to be replaced if there was catastrophic damage to the fixture.

The RF driver runs on 24 Volt DC, so generally an AC to DC power supply is included in the fixture design. Topanga USA recommends using power supplies that are greater than 92% efficient.
Are the components replaceable?
Yes. Because the driver, resonator, and bulb are separate components, it is possible for fixture manufacturers to design fixtures so the components can be either field-replaced, or replaced in a maintenance shop.
If APL is so great, why is it only showing up now?
The main solid-state components Topanga uses—which are based on cell phone technology—were extremely expensive until only a few years ago. Now the components are available at a lower price, it is finally possible for Topanga produce the APL system at a price that is cost-effective for fixture manufacturers to include in their product lines.
How long has Plasma Lighting been around?
APL is electrode-free HID. It creates a high brightness source by using a radio frequency which inductively-couples with metal halides and argon gas to create an arc source. Actually, Nicolai Tesla proved that plasma technology works back in the 1890's. There are photos of Tesla in his lab using a radio frequency to excite chemicals in a bulb in order to product light. Fluorescent tubes are an example of low brightness inductive lighting. The sun is of course the original plasma source. So plasma technology is actually old. Advanced Plasma Lighting is the synergy of nature, scientific theory, and modern technology.
What’s your 30 second pitch for APL?
Topanga APL captures the best of two worlds—combining the high efficiency and long life of solid-state LEDs and the high lumen output and light distribution of traditional HID.

APL is optimized technology. Its tiny single-point lamp and compact system allows for smaller and more flexible fixture design and footprint, and the replaceable components result in lower total cost of ownership.

For all applications, Topanga APL offers a startup time of 30 seconds and a restrike time of 2 minutes, and dynamic 100-20% dimming.

Overall, Topanga APL is superior in system performance.